Positive Disintegration

Positive Disintegration

This process I am going through can probably be called a Disintegration, and I sure hope that hindsight will reveal it as the kind of Positive Disintegration that Kazimierz Dabrowski created his theory about, and not just a part of a downward spiral without a happy ending!

The process definitely involves many of the overexcitabilities he describes, and even though I work hard to keep it together most of the time, a part of me always feels as if there is no ground underneath my feet.

 

Emotional Overexcitability
Being emotionally overexcitable quickly gets quite exhausting. People going through life without this peculiarity also experience exhausting emotions, of course, especially when living through heartbreak or grief, as we all do from time to time. But ever since I was a small child, I have picked up on many signals that my way of experiencing (or perhaps I ought to say my way of expressing) emotions was abnormal and unattractive. Other people just did not want to be loved that intensely, scrutinized to such a degree, or be around someone who deflated like a punctured balloon for every minor disappointment. I can relate to that, I find such displays of emotions in other people taxing, too, even when that other person is the one I am charged with guiding through life; my mini-me. Continue reading

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1-tweet stories

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway (“For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”) and a Quora question, I have set myself a challenge of posting a new story on twitter every day. An entire story, told in just one 140-character tweet. For someone who always exceeds word limits, this is quite difficult, and I’m sure it will be a good learning experience, so I really hope I can stick it out for at least 30 days.

I would greatly appreciate any feedback!

Here are the stories I’ve made so far:

  1. I made love to my husband. Tears rolled, and sobs racked my body as I realized he had sex with me.
  2. ”Where do you think daddy is?” My phone transmits a little girl’s silent scream. “So, what do you want to talk about now, mommy?”
  3. A message from HIM? Positive? Or negative? Or worse: neutral? Wait, the message changes? Drats, I can’t read it knowing I’m dreaming!
  4. “I am so useless!” she said in the car. But the way her friend’s face lit up when she opened the door showed us the truth.
  5. My child is in 1000 pieces, in a box. A week from now, I’ll see her, flat on a table, but still running through the snow of the puzzle.
  6. That wrongful acquittal ruined everything, but you just don’t expect a “not guilty” after carefully killing your husband.
  7. “Look at the dandelion pushing through concrete, all that can be achieved with effort!” “Did you see all the dead ones underneath?
  8. I understood that I had never really loved him when I saw him fail. His imperfection made him so real, I fell in love again. Harder.
  9. He braked frantically. “What kind of idiot bars a road with four unmarked poles?” Then the lights hit higher, on the body of the moose.
  10. After wondering for months, our eyes met for the first time, and all I could think was: “But I know you!”
  11. The light hit the most gorgeous of flowers, so its shadow fell on an ant who immediately felt offended and loudly complained.
  12. Couple, conjugated: To live, laughs, loved, has left.We kn
  13. We knew all those people who never came back, and yet, I denied you that kiss.
  14. They called us “gifted”, as if there was no expense draining our very essence of being, no social cost, no identity to use as currency.
  15. The full 1003 passed, and still their eyes were locked. The information thus amassed quite frankly had me… not all that surprised.
  16. Falling always hurts, sometimes a lot. That’s why she decided never again to fall in love. She jumped!
  17. He knew his daughter could not face another rejection, so she kept the application a secret. The acceptance letter came the day after her suicide note.
  18. How could a few steps change him from just a flirt into the man who saw through me, and liked it all? In his arms, I just knew.
  19. It might have been the best thing that never happened to me.

Confirmed

While on holiday, I received a phone call from my psychologist (or psychiatric nurse, to be correct) informing me that the tests I went through with a neuropsychologist had confirmed what the preliminary interviews and comparative information had revealed, so the team had agreed that I actually DO have ADHD. Somewhere, buried among other information, were also the words: “falls within the gifted spectrum”.

I have only told those closest to me so far, as I do not have written confirmation yet, but I feel so relieved to now know for sure that I’m not just a big-headed git shirking responsibilities, and that I have not been pretending to be anything I’m not. 

I AM gifted, and I HAVE got ADHD, and if the two of them have interacted to hide eachother in the past, those days are over!

I have a lot more to say about this, but there’s a bit too much going on in my life to concentrate for the time being, so I’ll be back with more once things settle down a bit.

Some good news

Today I’ve seen the therapist again, after almost a month off. The ADHD assessment shows some clear symptoms in the areas of impulsivity and executive function, but I don’t quite meet the rest of the criteria. To be on the safe side, we went through a checklist for personality traits today. This, incidentally, was what I was referred for two years ago (things take time!) by my GP. I found the checklist strange, there were so many instances where my response was: “No! Rather the opposite!”. Then it turned out those things were on the list of symptoms of narcissism, or antisocial behaviour…

My total score for personality disorders was a big, fat 0.

There were only three questions that I could say “yes” to, two concerning impulsivity, and one about unstable sense of self. That makes perfect sense to me, given my history.

All that remains now is one more session to talk out my childhood, probably mainly about all the years of bullying. The therapist has already referred me to a neuro-psychologist, who will do the final assessment. Apparently, part of this assessment is a test of abilities, or what people in other countries (less egalitarian societies) would term IQ. Whoopie! Finally!

Reverse metamorphosis

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I may never have been one of these gorgeous creatures, but I’m pretty sure I used to have wings many, many years ago. At least I felt like I could fly, and I sure used to feel certain in my ability to navigate and my freedom to do so. I never felt stunning, or even very colorful, but I know there were bright spots on my wings that helped me soar on the winds.

The main color was duty-blue, the slightly metallic light blue of reliably high results on anything that had to do with learning . That layer of color started to fade around the edges when school ended and work started, and I realized that after the initial six weeks or so, any job became incredibly predictable, brain-dead and boring.

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Then there were the transparent spots of my singing, those that were not discovered until I was an adult, and even then never really polished. But they gave me joy, and every once in a while, someone would blow a little speck of glowing pink over those transparent spots, making them shimmer after Continue reading

A numbers game?

Now that I’ve read up on both giftedness and ADHD (and dismissed suspicions of Personality Disorders or Bipolar Disorder, at least for myself), I am pretty convinced that I fall into both categories. Dr. Russel Barkley said in one of his presentations that ADHD presents in all populations, thus the ADHD population should follow the normal distribution curve of IQ as well. This means that a small number of people with ADHD are also gifted.

The ADHD prevalence in adults is estimated to be 5 %. This means that out of 1000 individuals, 50 will have ADHD. That seems quite a lot. But if we reduce the population to the size of a school, for instance, there will be 500 people, of which 25 will have ADHD to some degree. Of those 500 you are not likely to interact daily with more than 100 people, and only 5 of them will have ADHD. In your standard class of 25, there will be but 1.25 (a quarter child, what a concept!) people who struggle with their executive functioning.

So far, so good. If we assume that a person is within the top 5 % of the population intellectually, the same numbers apply. But when we COMBINE the two differences, numbers plummet.
Amongst the 5 % that have ADHD, 5 % are also cognitively gifted: they think differently, and experience the world on a deeper level than the rest of the population. What does this mean in plain numbers? Continue reading

Misdiagnosis: Looming Disaster?

After almost two years in treatment for what my GP initially suspected was a Personality Disorder but was interpreted as Overeating Disorder by my psychologist(s), I have now been transferred via a psychiatrist who suspected Bipolar Disease to a psychiatric nurse who specializes in schema treatment (Young) and seems very reluctant to my ideas that all that’s “wrong” with me can be quite neatly summed up by giftedness and overexcitabilities (all 5 of them), with the possible admission of ADHD and/or PTSD.

When she sums up the theories of the shrinks about the PD/BP/overeating that still have not vanished and the sleeping problems that so far have been ignored, she wants to start from scratch and “remove the symptom illnesses first”, i.e. cure the overeating and sleeping issues completely. I can practically see her brain ticking off little boxes, trying to fit me neatly into her pathology categories. Of course, she struggles already…

I scored highly on the initial assessment for ADHD, but some points stand out like sore thumbs. No, I did not fail in school just because my attention was scattered. I have a brain that has compensated wonderfully as far as possible. I did not need to pay attention in class: spending the first couple of weeks each semester scanning through the books, and then participating in any discussion saw me through 13 years of school without putting in any more work than the obligatory assignments. And I always did quite well on exams: for once, there were no distractions, no punishment for knowing the correct answers, no waiting around for everyone else to catch the drift, just blissful solitude and an opportunity to let it all pour out. Underachiever? In school, hardly. But throughout the rest of my life: most definitely!

Then, there’s the opposite problem: No, I do not pass Mensa’s home test. After 30 or so tasks that look so darned similar, I am unable to keep my attention on task, so I end up with a score that is significantly lower than I know ought to be achievable. But to someone outside of my experiences, it seems incomprehensible that I should object to a score of 121. That’s a GOOD score, right? But I easily grasp complex notions, learn very quickly, and have an excellent memory, so it comes naturally to solve “Einsteins riddle”, sudokus, sets of equations etc. And I have lived through far too many situations where I knew the answers before the rest even realized there would be a problem to be convinced that the difference between a good score and an accurate score matters.

So here I am, having spent months researching giftedness, overexcitabilities and high sensitivity, and a little bit about ADHD as well. So many books, articles and websites describing me to a T, despite me never having met any of the authors. I started to feel I knew a bit about who I was, and why I was the way I was. What I wanted was a sparring partner to help figure out how best to deal with all this. Instead, I get to fill out beginner’s questionnaires while wondering if there could be any possible benefits to just letting them label me whatever suits them, even if it is Bipolar with a Personality Disorder?

The Right Shoe

The shoe market was big. Really big, really. Enormous, perhaps? There were so many shoemakers making so many shoes made over so many lasts to so many distributors who delivered the shoes to so many sellers that one could easily mistake the system for chaos. Still, most shoes ended up neatly paired and sold to happy new owners by the end of a day. Most of them.

One day, a shoe was placed on a counter next to other shoes that looked quite similar. They clearly were parts of the same series, covered with the same leather on the outside, died to the same colors, and the patterns and markings made it clear they were a family. On the inside, however, some of the shoes stood out. Continue reading

Combining Theories of Giftedness and Brain Function

Below is a compilation of some information on giftedness and brain function that hold special appeal to me personally. My doctors have, so far, diagnosed asthma, allergies, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, overeating disorder, depressive states, and are currently leaning towards Psoriasis Arthritis as an explanation for the extensive muscle and joint pain, fatigue and skin problems. In July 2013, after thorough screening and testing, it was confirmed that I have ADHD and am gifted.

As I’ve gone through almost 10 years of progressive health failure, it has struck me as more and more obvious that those issues are likely to be related. I still have a lot of processing to do before I can write coherently about all this, so for now I’ll just share the information and my suspicion that there IS a connection somewhere that links all this, and that it has to do with the level of brain activity and the way signals are propagated. Could the link have something to do with myelin and overconnectivity in the brain that is misinterpreted in the Vagus nerve(s)?

Dabrowski: Theory of Positive Disintegration

Overexcitabilities:

Psychomotor                    Heightened excitability of the neuromuscular system. Capacity for being active and Continue reading

What to expect

My plan for this blog, as well as for my life, really, is to systematically gather and present information about giftedness, mainly in adults. I intend to read through a great amount of online information and select the best for this site. In addition to this, I have already purchased several books that I wish to review here. Having at least four of the five overexcitabilities myself, I am overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this undertaking, but I take comfort in knowing that I have already made a good start.

Since i trust my readers to peruse through the links I provide on their own initiative, I will prioritize writing up the books and material that I cannot make available here first. Here is a list of the books I plan to review:

Wade, Allis: “Orientation (The School of Gifted Potentials)”

Streznewski, Marylou Kelly: “Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential” 

Olenchak, F. Richard, Goerss, Jean, Beljan, Paul, Webb, James T., Webb, Nadia E., Amend, Edward R.: “Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders”

Fonseca, Christine: “Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings”

Greene, Ross W.: “Lost at School”

Kermadec, Monique de: “L’adulte surdoué. Apprendre à faire simple quand on est compliqué”

All but one of these books are available in English, and some of them have doubtless been devoured by my readers alredy, so I have made the decision to start out by reviewing the only French book on the list. This will require some translating in order to present it to you, so it might take a while.